But after guitarist/singer Will Sprott belted his final pleading lines on the set closer, "Don't Throw Me Away," the crowd was anxious to take his advice. It was a precious sight especially amidst all the murky, melancholy haunting any show with "The Black Heart Procession" at the top of the bill. But that's The Mumlers' M.O.
It's those thoughtful dynamics--the courage to take chances--that reward not tossing this one away.
Sprott's talent for conjuring light and hope from darkness allows the greatest songs on their sophomore album, Don't Throw Me Away, to shine. Through 11 tracks, the group shuffle-steps to gently plucked chords backed by a charming horn section, channeling a wide spectrum of old world folk, soul and R&B. But it doesn't matter if Sprott is in the mood for lovin', gamblin' or writin' his Grandma a letter--The Mumlers imbue every tune with tender pop caress.
It's those thoughtful dynamics--the courage to take chances--that reward not tossing this one away. Songs like the album opener, "Raise The Blinds," stumble out of the bar with an early rock n' roll swagger through speakeasy horn streets, getting lost in alleys of off-kilter keys. But serendipitously find their way sweetly home to Otis Redding territory. Others, like the macabre job lament, "Coffin Factory," sound like a Tijuana bar-fight between Tom Waits and Eric Burdon. However, even here, beneath Sprott's croon bemoaning his career "Building boxes to bury humanity," carefree harmonies swoon through the gloom "Sha-la-la-la."
Despite its magic, some of the album's spare blues arrangements ring a little redundant when repeated over three tracks. It's just a reminder that The Mumlers' best songs are oblivious to genre pretense; unconcerned with sounding like anyone but themselves. But with such heartfelt ambition and Sprott wringing out each line in a song like delicate Soul poetry, it's impossible not to take the band at their word. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Watch The Mumlers perform "Coffin Factory" from their new album Don't Throw Me Away at Hailey's in Denton, TX.